A flight sim designed for play on the high-def generation consoles, the most compelling features of the Birds of Prey edition of IL-2 are in the details. The game's scenery was created using a combination of satellite images and hundreds of historical photographs, for the most accurate representation of landscapes and ground targets in the Sturmovik series to date. A revamped damage engine adds effects to planes in real-time during combat, such as trail lines and holes in the wings. The game features a scalable difficulty system, allowing users to adjust from a fast and forgiving "arcade" style of play to realistically demanding "simulation"-style settings.
As in earlier IL-2 Sturmovik games, missions involve airborne combat in the skies above key ground-based military operations. In addition to the title craft, players can fly in famous planes including Germany's BF 109F-4, Britain's Hurricane, and the United States' Spitfire. More than 50 planes are available in all, although some must be unlocked by completing missions and accomplishing other in-game objectives. The game's 50-plus missions are set in six large European theaters of World War II: The Battle of Brittan, Stalingrad, Berlin, Sicily, the Battle of the Bulge, and Korsun. Multiplayer missions for up to four virtual pilots are available, in four modes of play: "Dogfight," "Team Deathmatch," "Ground Strike," and "Capture the Airstrip."